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'Pretty Little Liars' S4-E9 Recap: Happy Birthday, Emily?

August 8th, 2013 6:15am EDT

Pretty Little Liars Hasn’t this season of Pretty Little Liars felt a little slow in comparison to previous seasons? Nine episodes in and the police are still tracking down Wilden’s murderer while the Alison case (minor developments and Mona’s premiere confessional aside) has been mostly static–shouldn’t we be learning a bit more at this point, rather than treading previously-explored ground? Instead of being pushed along, story lines–like Emily’s injured arm, Ashley’s legal trouble, Spencer’s proclivity for enthusiastically suspecting everyone at some point or another, and Aria’s new relationship–are being explored over and over again each week, with no real resolution in sight. Though slow-burning plots can be fine, they need to be balanced with some excitement; “Into the Deep” tried to mix quiet character moments with a party and a near drowning, but all of the action was saved for episode’s end. Maybe the intriguing aftereffects will carry on into the next episode or episodes? Let’s hope so.

Anyway, onto the episode…

1. Hanna 

Mona’s false(?) confession brought Hanna some much-needed good news: the police finally set Ashley’s bail. The bad news? The bail was set at one million dollars. After a tearful phone call with Caleb in the park, Ashley ran into Reverend Ted. He’d heard about Ashley’s arrest and told Hanna to have faith things would work out. Hanna, the realist, stated she didn’t need faith, she needed money. However, when Ashley’s bail was paid by an anonymous source, both Marins assumed Hanna’s father had paid up; he didn’t, of course, but Ted did. Ashley realized the truth when Ted stopped by the house with a pie, and she returned the favor with an explanation (she’d fought with Wilden on the night he was murdered but didn’t kill him) and the acceptance of a dinner invitation. So, Ashley’s in the semi-clear for now but still under house arrest. Meanwhile, Mona, released from the police station due to a lack of evidence, returned to Radley for an extended stay, but she seemed oddly pleased to be there? Obviously she’s planning something, but how long until we discover what it is? And is she hoping to help the Liars, or resume her A mission?

Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

2. Emily 

Because of Emily’s recent A-related stressors, Paige decided the best way to distract Emily was through a meeting with a famed swim trainer and a surprise party at Paige’s aunt’s lake house. Unfortunately, Paige neglected to inform the trainer of Emily’s injury, and Emily received the disappointing news that it’d be very unlikely she’d be trained in time for scholarship season. Poor Emily’s taken most of the brunt from A’s attacks lately, hasn’t she? Between her injured arm, destroyed house, and parental drama, it’s a wonder the girl hasn’t checked herself into Radley at this point, if only to catch a break. Now her relationship with Paige is looking grim–despite Paige’s good intentions, the girls know they won’t be together next year at Stanford, and three thousand miles plus four years of separation is an awfully huge obstacle. Emily promised Paige she’d try to enjoy her party, but she escaped the first chance she got and found Jenna unconscious in the lake. After rescuing her, Emily showed Spence and Aria the blood stains on her sleeve, indicating Jenna had been knocked on the back of the head.

Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

3. Aria

After Aria’s fear-fueled call, Jake ended up spending the night on the couch so she’d feel safe. Whilst sitting on the porch chatting with Spencer, Aria sneaked a peek or two at Jake dressing through the window and seemed pleased by what she saw. Though Aria tried to ditch him to meet Spencer, Jake talked her into grabbing a coffee together. Of course, Ezra was seated nearby, talking with Maggie, and spotted the pair with jealousy etched all over his face. He almost missed what Maggie was saying: she received a job offer in Seattle and would be moving Malcolm there with her, much to Ezra’s disappointment. He sought out Mrs. Hastings for a family lawyer’s number, but Ezra’d have to establish his paternity to even have a case, which would then only lead to a massive legal battle between him and Maggie. If he truly cares about his son, as we’ve seen he clearly does, then he’ll let them go. (Also, are we supposed to be suspecting Malcolm isn’t Ezra’s biological son, since Ezra’s name isn’t on the birth certificate? Please no–don’t go with that route, Pretty Little Liars.) Anyway, Jake wandered into Emily’s birthday party with a pretty blonde on his arm. Aria responded with obvious jealousy, and later, when Jake sat on her couch after the near-tragic party incident, the pair finally (finally!) kissed.

Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

4. Spencer

With Toby still in New York, Spencer’s story line has largely stalled–she spent the episode attempting to question Jenna (who’d finally returned to Rosewood) after overhearing a conversation between Shana and Jenna about Alison. Her plan faltered when Jenna was discovered face-down in the lake during Emily’s birthday party. Unconscious in the hospital, Jenna won’t be answering any questions anytime soon. Convenient. But Shana reluctantly offered some information when Spence cornered her–it’s not Alison Jenna’s afraid of (since she’s, you know, dead) but Cece Drake. Hmm.

Lastly, Red Coat visited Alison’s house (as someone moved around with the light on in Ali’s old bedroom!) to open an entrance under the porch, and A played some piano music before stuffing the sheets of music into an envelope addressed to Toby.

That’s it, see you next week!


Related: Pretty Little Liars, Recaps

Photo Credits: Photo Courtesy of ABC Family (abcfamily.com)

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